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Protein Intake Increases Hip Fracture Prevention

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Higher levels of protein intake may lower the risk of hip fractures in seniors, according to a study published in Osteoporosis International.
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A team of researchers from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston enrolled 946 elderly participants in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, which examined the effects of consuming higher amounts of protein.

The results of the study showed that individuals who had the lowest protein intake were 50 percent more likely to suffer from hip fractures.

While other studies have found that protein intake is associated with an increase in bone mineral density, the researchers from this study stated that a higher intake of protein also builds strong muscles in the legs, which lowers the possibility of falling and suffering a hip fracture.

Marian T. Hannan, lead author and co-director at the Musculoskeletal Research Program at the Institute for Aging Research, stated that “[the] study participants who consumed higher amounts of protein in their diet were significantly less likely to suffer a hip fracture.”

People who wish to add more protein to their daily diet can benefit from consuming fish, leaner meats, dairy products, as well as different types of beans, which are all high sources of protein, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


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Source :Better Health Research. July 22. 2010

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Shoes that Warn You About a Fall

Scientists working to help astronauts regain balance after extended flights in zero gravity say they’ve found a way to use the research to help elderly people avoid catastrophic falls.

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An “iShoe”insole contains sensors that read how well a person is balancing. The point is to gather information for doctors and to get people to a specialist – before they fall.

Erez Lieberman, a graduate student who developed the technology while working as an intern at Nasa, says a damaging fall is preceded

by numerous warnings, similar to how high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure point to a coming heart attack. “You gradually get worse and worse at balancing,”said Lieberman, who studies in a joint Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology health science and technology program. “If you know the problem is there, you can start addressing the problem.”

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 300,000 people annually suffer hip fractures, which are often caused by falls. An average of 24% of hip fracture patients age 50 and over die within a year of the fracture.

Many fall victims who don’t die within a year end up being disabled the rest of their lives.
“It’s a huge issue,”said Elinor Ginzler of the AARP. “It significantly impairs your ability to stay independent, which is what people want.”

The idea for the iShoe came to Lieberman while he was working on a project to help astronauts regain balance after months in zero gravity. The work is part of preparations for long space missions, such as trips to Mars, that require astronauts to perform complicated tasks on the terrain soon after landing.

He and Katharine Forth, a visiting scientist at Nasa who also works on the iShoe, had been touched personally by the issue of elderly falls, with each seeing a grandmother’s health rapidly deteriorate after such an accident. “It was something that has kind of been on my mind in general, and once I started looking at balance it became very clear it would have applications in that direction,”Lieberman said.

Nasa tests balance with an expensive device about the size of a phone booth. Lieberman and Forth say the iShoe insole, slipped inside any shoe, solves the problem of portability and affordability, since the device would cost about $100.

Lieberman estimates $1 million is needed for a broad clinical trial, and $3 million to $4 million to bring the insole to market. The company has applied for a patent and as well as federal funding. Once funding is obtained, the iShoe could be for sale in 18 months, Lieberman said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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